Tag Archives: Genius bread

Birthdays, exams and an awards ceremony too

The last 10 days have been busy ones and I for one am glad to be heading into the last week of term, though the dawning of the school holidays definitely does not equate to any time off work for me this year. Looking back at my blog posts from previous years, it does appear that March and April are consistently a hectic time for us and this year was no different. World Book Day passed surprisingly easy, with M heading to school in his own clothes for his school’s Roald Dahl-themed day as he chose to represent “…a material witness at the trial of Goldilocks, Mummy…” in Dahl’s version of that well-loved Fairy tale.

We seamlessly segued from my 40th celebrations to M’s 11th birthday and onto my 4th blogaversary before celebrating Mother’s Day in fine style too. School presented its own challenges to both G and M, with homework tasks, concert rehearsals and posters revising the finer details of grammar and punctuation – fronted adverbials anyone? – filling our evenings and weekends. Next came 2 sets of exams: Performing Arts exams for both children with their Stagecoach school, followed just a few days later by M’s Grade 1 Cello exam, which I’m delighted to say he passed despite a persistent reluctance to give much more than a cursory nod to his daily practice. Continuing with the music theme, G performed with the school clarinet group at her school’s Spring music concert last week, whilst M is singing with his school choir at a regional music concert involving children from Junior schools across our county this week.

On top of all of that, we also managed to squeeze in a trip to London for 4 and an evening spent celebrating the success stories from this year’s FreeFrom Food Awards. Once again held at the Royal College of Physicians near Regent’s Park, the evening was a glittering event designed to recognise some of the fantastic freefrom products nominated this year and was a great opportunity to not only catch-up with friends from the allergy blogging world, but also try those tasty treats that had pipped their competitors to the winning post. Hosted by the fabulous Michelle Berriedale-Johnson, director of the FreeFrom Food Awards, with a helping hand from restaurateur, celebrity chef and awards patron, Antony Worrall-Thompson, the Awards were a real testament to the changes brought about in the Freefrom world over the last few years.

The complete list of winners from #FFFA17 can be found here, but the big winners of the night were Irish bakers, Bfree, whose Sweet Potato Wraps are impressively top 14 allergen free and won high praise from many of the judges for being “…enormously versatile, beautifully soft and pliable, a lovely warm colour and tasting delicious…” This year was the 10th anniversary of the FFFA and to acknowledge this remarkable achievement, nominations had been invited to recognise a Freefrom Super Hero from within the industry itself. There were 5 very worthy nominees, all of whom are, without a doubt, heroes within the Freefrom world, but there could only be one winner and the inspirational Clare Marriage of Doves Farm was chosen for her unquestionable dedication to the production of numerous flour blends that have transformed the lives of those having to bake freefrom.

It was a fantastic night and it was wonderful to be able to mingle with the crowds of fellow freefrom foodies, rather than negotiate them with a small child in a wheelchair as we did last year! G not only enjoyed helping herself to a number of the goodies on offer on the Winners’ Buffet, finding a new gluten-free favourite with Kelkin’s chocolate-flavoured teacakes, but also found the courage to strike up a brief conversation with her very own Super Hero, Lucinda Bruce-Gardyne, the creator of G’s gluten-free bread of choice, Genius. I can’t wait to see what the year ahead brings for the Freefrom industry and am definitely looking forward to #FFFA18!

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M’s Daily Bread

When our journey to reaching a diagnosis for M started at GOSH 3 years ago, we never could have imagined how radically his life, or ours, would be changed.  It was incredibly difficult to remove so many things from his diet and I will never know how our amazing 5 year-old accepted this new way of life with so little resistance.  Over the past 3 years I’ve spent a lot of time developing recipes to allow both G and M to enjoy the same sort of treats as their friends, be it traybakes, cakes or biscuits, all with varying success; but the one thing I’m yet to perfect is bread.

G is able to eat the wonderful Genius bread, which we discovered back in 2009 when she had the most difficult diet in the family, being wheat-, dairy- and oats-free.  That discovery made a big difference to her life at the time and we were once again able to easily enjoy picnics and packed lunches without G feeling like the odd one out.  Unfortunately, M has not been so lucky.  Genius bread contains egg, which is still a no-go for M despite 3 attempts to re-introduce it into his diet, and also potato starch.  Instead, he is left with the dubious pleasure of Ener-G brown rice bread, which really is only just about edible when toasted and, I suspect, only then because there isn’t a good alternative.

I have attempted a couple of bread recipes, but have never really ended up with a loaf that M has enjoyed enough for me to make again.  As I unexpectedly have him at home from school due to his tummy bug and the resultant flare, I thought we’d spend some time in the kitchen and attempt this most recent bread recipe which I discovered on the Doves Farm website.  I had all the ingredients in the cupboard, so we found everything we needed, washed our hands and started baking.  M enjoyed weighing and measuring the ingredients out and it was a great opportunity for him to practice his reading skills without really realising it.  Everything looked good when it went into the baking tin, though M was not impressed by the 90 minutes proving it needed or the fact that it would then take a further hour to bake.

The best rice flour bread!

The best rice flour bread!

The end result was simply spectacular.  The loaf had an amazing crust, the dough was cooked through and the grainy nature I’ve come to fear in anything baked with rice flour was not overly apparent.  The smell of fresh bread baking has been missing from our house for a while and it’s fab to know it will be making a reappearance on a regular basis.  G and M had a warm piece of bread each, straight from the oven and covered with a generous lashing of their free-from spread.  Their verdict?  Delicious!

 

Today saw a small return to M’s depleted appetite, so hopefully he’s on the mend and will back to his bubbly self soon enough:

M

Me

Mike

Breakfast
  • Smoothie (1/2 banana, 5 strawberries, 200mls rice milk)
  •  Orange
Bowl of:

  • Free-from cornflakes
  • Rice milk
Lunch
  • Sakata rice crackers (4)
  • Free-from spread
  • Fruit string

 

  • Sakata rice crackers (6)
  • Cucumber
  • Celery
  • Peanut butter
  • Sliced pear

 

  •  Left-over chicken casserole and rice
Dinner
  • 4x sweet potato wedges
  • Pork belly slice (1/2)
  • Cucumber
  • Apple (1/3)

 

  •  Sweet potato wedges
  • Pork belly slices (2)
  • Courgettes
  • Mushrooms
  •   Sweet potato wedges
  • Pork belly slices (2)
  • Courgettes
  • Mushrooms
Snacks
  • Fruit buttons (blackcurrant)
  • Capri sun orange drink
  • Brazil & Sultana bar (1/2)
  • Rice bread (1 slice)
 

And that’s a wrap

cookery

I don’t know about you, but I frequently find that mealtimes can get a bit repetitive, especially when we’ve had to cut yet another staple from M’s diet.  Much as I love to cook and bake, sometimes I really, really hate having to decide what to prepare for dinner.  Add into the mix the need for packed lunches on a daily basis, which are generally formed of the same key ingredients due to a restricted diet and I end up pulling my hair out in desperation.  M’s recent longing for a prawn mayonnaise sandwich meant that I had to seek inspiration and work out whether it was possible to create something even vaguely similar or not.

prawnsThe easy bit, believe it or not, was the prawn mayonnaise.  Using a squirt of some Really Not Dairy original mayonnaise, a dash of Heinz tomato ketchup and a generous serving of prawns, I was able to whip up a reasonable prawn cocktail. I diced a chunk of cucumber, grated some carrot and threw a handful of sweetcorn in to add a couple of portions of vegetables to the filling too.  This mayonnaise is egg-, dairy- and soya-free and tastes more like salad cream than traditional mayonnaise, but it does the job and has been a great find for M.

Next came the more challenging aspect, the bread.  G is able to enjoy Genius bread, which is the best gluten- and wheat-free bread we’ve tried, but unfortunately it contains both egg white and potato starch which are now excluded from M’s diet. 20140317_171113 M’s sandwiches are usually made from Sakata rice crackers as his bread is really only edible when toasted, but these are small and don’t lend themselves to being a critical part of a prawn mayonnaise sandwich!  Mike and I both enjoy eating wraps, either for lunch or filled and baked for a Mexican inspired dinner and at last year’s Allergy and Free From show we stumbled across the amazing Bfree gluten-free wraps.  These taste delicious and both children enjoyed them whilst we had some.  Unfortunately, they are incredibly difficult to source in the UK, though most larger Asda stores do stock them now and I headed to our nearest shop with my fingers tightly crossed to see if they were available.

Part of my regular shopping routine, even when buying foods that I’ve bought before, is to scan quickly through the ingredients list for anything that isn’t M-friendly.  Recipes do change, even on tried and tested products, so it’s worth those few extra minutes to avoid days or even weeks of pain because of a missed offending food.  To my dismay, I noted that the wraps contained potato starch, which is now a forbidden food for M and I thought my chances of buying a good alternative to satisfy M’s cravings were over.  I went home and even attempted to make some M-friendly wraps, but the rice flour didn’t lend itself to the recipe and the kids understandably turned their noses up at the finished product that was presented to them.

20140317_170320It was a couple of weeks later when I was in our local Waitrose, that I spied a new-to-me package on their free-from shelves, Newburn Bakehouse gluten-free wraps.  I picked it up to cast my eye over the ingredients, fully expecting to find either egg or potato flour or both lurking there, but to my delight, this new product contained nothing that wasn’t M-friendly and I quickly snapped up the remaining pack to take home and try.

I prepared M’s lunch using one of the Newburn Bakehouse wraps and a generous spoonful of my home-made prawn mayonnaise and called him to the table.  He was overwhelmed to see his much longed-for sandwich waiting for him and made short work of devouring it all.  He relished every bite and, what’s more, requested a second wrap, something that doesn’t happen all that often in our household.  The wraps looked and tasted good and, with 3 to a pack, there was enough left for his school lunchbox on Monday.  Both M and I award them with a much-deserved 10 out of 10 – a great product, delicious to eat and suitable for a MEWS-diet, what more could a Mum ask for?

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